Most of my life, I have been one of those people who is happy to wait until the last minute for things. I always used to do all my Christmas shopping a few days before. Valentines Day, I’d pop out and buy something the day before. There have been more than one occasion where I’ve crashed into the post office just a few moments before the post man, to post a birthday present. Pancake day, I’m usually found frantically searching the aisles for flour, milk, eggs, lemons and Nutella, about an hour before dinner! (We always have our pancakes for dessert). I guess I’m just not one to rush things and I’ve never had a problem with that.
Mothers Day however, is the one occasion I always seem to leave a bit more time to plan. Probably because my mum doesn’t live near me, so I have to plan ahead for getting her present to her.
I’m not sure what has changed, but the past year, things have been different. I actually started my Christmas shopping in SEPTEMBER! I bought my Mum’s birthday present two weeks early. We have started making my birthday plans three weeks early, instead of three days before. My children’s birthday presents and parties are usually planned the week before. It’s only February and my husband and I have already started planning the girls birthday presents and parties… which aren’t until May! We’ve discussed Bear’s birthday present too and his birthday isn’t until July.
Mothers Day 2019
So it makes sense that I’m also planning even further ahead for Mother’s Day too.
Mother’s Day in the UK is on 31st March this year (2019).
In the USA Mothering Sunday is on the 12th May 2019.
I already know what I’m going to get my mum! And for those of you reading this, who also want to plan ahead, I thought I’d make a few suggestions of great Mothers Day gifts.
Flowers are always a brilliant choice, whether you order online or deliver in person. Who doesn’t love flowers?
Another popular option is always jewellery. A quick trip to Pandora and you’ll definitely score some good daughter or son points!
For those whose mums aren’t on a diet, don’t just go for the first box of chocolates you see in the Supermarket… shop around and get the nicest box of choccies you can find! It’s not the first place that pops into your mind, but large garden centres often have luxury chocolates (as well as cookies, cakes, jams, cheeses and chutneys).
Experiences also make a popular Mothers Day gift. You really can’t beat spending time with someone and making memories together. So how about a spa day in the countryside or afternoon tea at the Ritz (or somewhere equally as fancy)?
Does your mum collect something? Is there a particular ornament or collectable she adores? Make a note of the ones she already has and go the extra mile to find the one she hasn’t got or can’t find.
Keen gardener? Book worm? Avid yoga fan? Crazy cat lady? If your mum has a particular hobby or interest, get something personal to that passion. It’s the thought that counts remember.
We only get one mum and no matter how much time we get to spend with her, it’s never enough. Make sure you always put the effort in and get her something special on Mothers Day, whether that’s a lavish gift, or your precious time, or both.
If you’ve read the news recently, you’ll know that weather forecasters are predicting that the UK will be hit with a deluge of snow from tonight onwards!
This not only promises days of disruption and delays out on the road, but it also recreates the age old challenge of keeping yourself warm while also maintaining a keen sense of style.
This is a genuinely tough balance to strike, and I’ve made a number of faux-pas while trying to make my winter wardrobe work! I’ve also learned some lessons along the way, however, so here are some tips to look stylish and stay warm during a winter cold snap.
Make your Coat the Focal Point of your Wardrobe
If you’re going to look smart this winter, choosing which coat to wear is one of the most important decisions that you’ll make.
After all, there’s a huge range of stylish winter coats available on the market, while these garments are made to offer warmth and provide protection against the cold. Long, three-quarter length coats are particularly fit for purpose, while shearling jackets are also in vogue and capable of providing exceptional warmth.
With the right choice of winter coat, you can easily strike the balance between style and warmth, without necessarily having to spend huge amounts of your hard-earned cash.
I’d also recommend donning a stylish and matching scarf or pashmina, as this adds a unique sense of style and some much needed warmth.
Layer your Clothing
Whether you’re at home or abroad, layering your tops and clothes remains one of the best ways of coping with changeable climates.
It also creates a flexible and comfortable look, and one that can reflect your unique sense of style as an individual.
Layers of fine knit tops can keep you warm more effectively than one big chunky sweater, for example, while wearing natural and breathable fabrics like cotton and wool can also bring your winter wardrobe to life.
I’d say that cashmere is the perfect fabric for layering as it’s lightweight, soft and retains heat really well, while it’s also deceptively affordable.
Introduce Colour and Comfort with Micro Fleece Pants
When selecting your winter trousers, you could do far worse than investing in a few pairs of low-cost, micro fleece pants.
These pull-on garments, which are sold through online retailers like Damart, are extremely comfortable to wear, while they feature a draw cord that enables you to adjust the fit to suit your body shape and style expectations.
As they’re made from fleece, these trousers are also exceptionally warm, while they can be purchased in a range of bright and vibrant colours that bring your wardrobe to life!
In November 2018 I embarked on a new venture and became a Body Shop at Home consultant. This was not instead of blogging, but in addition to it. Blogging and writing is still my career. The Body Shop at Home is a side project but nevertheless it is one that has very quickly become important to me. I have joined for a number of reasons but I feel quite passionate about it. So first I’m going to start with WHY…
I became a Body Shop at Home Consultant for a number of reasons. I’m going to go through them in order of importance to me.
1. Self-esteem and confidence
Due to things that have happened in my life, past relationships, emotional well-being and all kinds of things, my confidence has crumbled over the last few years. My self-esteem was at rock bottom.
I avoided mirrors. I avoided cameras. I hid my body under hoodies and jeans. I didn’t wear makeup. I didn’t look after my skin or hair. I didn’t follow fashion. I didn’t look after ME. I did in the sense of eating well and getting fresh air, I don’t drink, smoke, do drugs or consume caffeine. But that’s about it. I LOVE looking after my family and I always put myself last. I didn’t love myself. I didn’t feel worthy enough to treat myself or take pride in my appearance. I felt ugly and unattractive. Both on the outside and on the inside. And most of the time I busied myself in other things, because when I stopped and thought about it, it got my down. I was not comfortable in my own skin.
And it wasn’t just skin deep. My confidence waned when I had to speak to someone new or talk on the phone. These are things I had never had a problem with before. I also had it in my head that nobody GENUINELY likes me and that people just humour me (and then slag me off behind my back).
But I didn’t want to feel that forever. I wanted my confidence and self-esteem back. I wanted to be able to walk up to anyone and spark up a conversation. I thought about how nice it would be, to be able to look in the mirror and not get this sinking feeling in my stomach every time I see my reflection. To have the confidence to be in photos and maybe even make vlogs or do live videos. To feel like I’m not worthless.
So. I thought that becoming a Body Shop at Home Consultant might help me with that. On two different levels.
On the communication side of things, becoming a Body Shop at Home Consultant would mean I have to get out there and talk to people. I’d go out to parties and chat to hosts and their guests. You need confidence to be able to sell things. To be able to recruit new members. To lead parties and close sales.
And on a more personal level, being a Body Shop at Home Consultant would give me more opportunity to try new products. Inspire me to start taking care of my skin and hair. Allow me to try all these things without spending a fortune on them. And makeup too.
And I was right. It did improve my confidence, in even more ways than I expected. It did push me out of my comfort zone and it has turned around my entire way of thinking about my myself.
The Body Shop at Home Consultant Starter Kit!
2. Social Life
I love my family to pieces. I wouldn’t change them for the world. My four incredible children and my husband are my WHOLE WORLD. And because of that, I didn’t really have a social life outside of my family, beyond coffee with a friend once every few months. I try to see my mum once a month but the rest of my wider family, I don’t see very often as they live far away. A few times a year perhaps. And I had never really seen my lack of social life as a problem. I’m not into going out drinking anymore. I don’t dance or run anymore. And somehow my social life became non existent. My friends were still there, but they were distant.
But then I started to wonder if perhaps getting a social life would be good for me. Good for my confidence. And good in the sense that I won’t feel desperately lonely when my littlest is old enough to go to school! He’s my little sidekick and we go everywhere together.
Becoming a Body Shop At Home Consultant gave me a brand new social life. It’s a talking point for anywhere, anytime, with anyone. Chatting through the sales offers, the products in the catalogue and giving advice on which are the best products to buy, got me engaging in conversation with lots of different people. Posting on social media, doing live videos, running raffles, giveaways and playing games increased my online social life too. And going out to run stalls and host parties made me step well and truly outside of my comfort zone. In the ten months I’ve been doing this, I’ve made so many new friends from it and built on existing friendships too. Acquaintances have become friends, friends of friends have become friends. People I never had an excuse to meet up with before, I do now.
3. Wanting to succeed
I think that in order to feel fulfilled, we need to have goals and ambitions to work towards. We need to be good at something, succeed at something, as a way of appreciating our own worth as individuals. An individual as opposed to a mum or a wife or a writer. I thrive on goals and pressure and deadlines. I love shopping and I love the feeling of doing well at something. In my first month, I met three out of my four personal targets (which I set for myself) as a Body Shop Consultant. I then went from a consultant with no team members in January, to a Manager with a full team in just three months. I also won a place on the first ever consultant retreat, meaning that I got to stay in a lovely four star hotel for two nights, with all meals paid for and meet lots of other Body Shop at Home Consultants. I’ve also won vouchers and been sent flower bouquets and chocolate bouquets and all kinds of other lovely prizes for doing well. And I’m not the anomaly either. Lots of the girls on my team, do equally as well as me for sales and some of them even earn MORE than me. It’s a business where anyone can do well.
Even now, ten months in, I feel genuinely excited when I click through the brochure, when I chat to others about the products and when I type orders into the system. These are products I have bought, used and loved myself since I was a kid. We are talking 20+ years. So selling a product I know and love makes it fun and exciting, rather than a chore or “work”.
This was one of the graphics I made, to accompany my first YouTube vlog for The Body Shop at Home.
4. To earn some extra money
I make my full time income from freelance writing, blogging and sometimes travelling. But who doesn’t want to earn a bit of extra money? I have four children who each had very big Christmas lists (and a husband with an even bigger one) so being with The Body Shop at Home before Christmas really helped me to get them a few really lovely things for Christmas.
Becoming a Body Shop at Home Consultant means that a week after I put through everyone’s orders, I get paid a percentage as commission. Every penny adds up right? This is a side venture. My Body Shop Business will hopefully run alongside my blogging business for a long time. It won’t replace it. Being self employed means swings and roundabouts with income. You have good weeks and bad weeks. Sometimes you have to wait months for clients to pay their invoices. So my Body Shop commission will really help on the weeks where I’m waiting for payments from my other business. And this one is a lot easier for accounting!
I’ve had a mixed reception to becoming a Body Shop at Home Consultant. Some of the friends who I hoped would be hugely supportive, weren’t. Other friends who I didn’t expect to support me in this venture, have been amazing. I’ve grown my customer group from friends, family, friends of friends, party hosts, party guests, stalls, fundraisers and social media.
Bunny stood behind a Body Shop at Home stall I had set up at a Christmas market
Why would you buy from a Body Shop Consultant?
I’ve had the odd one or two people say something like, “well if I want something, I’ll go to the shop and get it”. So let me explain the benefits of buying from a Body Shop Consultant as opposed to buying from a shop.
Firstly, Body Shop at Home Consultants have different prices to the tangible stores. We do sales when the stores don’t and offer all kinds of crazy deals and discounts. We did a HUGE Black Friday sale with discounts way bigger than the stores. I also do raffles and giveaways for people to win products. Sometimes we are able to offer freebies. And best of all… We are like personal shoppers. We can give advice and tips and help you decide which products are right for you. And sometimes a store might be out of stock of a particular item, but we have it or can get it. We can often tell you when a sale is coming too, so you don’t buy something at full price and regret it the next day. Body Shop Consultants give you that personal touch that you don’t get from shopping online and we can dedicate more time to helping you test and explore products than they could in store.
Body Shop at Home Parties and Pamper Evenings
And the parties… or pamper evenings… whatever name you prefer… If you host a party, you get our undivided time and attention. You get free reign to test out any product in our kit. We play games, your guests can win prizes and above all, it’s a really good giggle and an excuse to get all your friends together. And dependant on how much your guests spend on placing orders, the host gets free products and heavily discounted products.
I hosted my first party in January and all the guests had a really good giggle. They loved the games and the prizes, but I think most of all, they loved being able to test all the products and ask questions about them, with no time limits. It can be awkward testing products in a shop, but sat on a chair in a friends house, with a glass of wine, taking your time, is quite a relaxing experience. The host bagged herself lots of free products and had the option to buy more at 70% off! People were able to do skin tests, colour matching and smell everything. I hadn’t even realised quite how extensive my kit had grown, until I laid it all out at the party, but it was so much fun. I’ve since done lots more parties and am always looking to book more.
My Body Shop at Home Group
If you couldn’t tell from the passion in this post, I’m really enjoying being a Body Shop at Home Consultant and I’m really hoping that it’s something I can continue to do well with long term. I have a closed Facebook group for all my customers, where I do games, videos, product tutorials, exclusive offers, polls and all kinds of other things to keep my customers updated on the latest products and discounts. I try to get a variation of posts, from personal posts, to photos with the products and also of course some product knowledge, as well as lots of fun stuff too.
If any of my readers fancy joining my Body Shop Facebook group, to see what sales, discounts and games I do, you can request to join. It’s called Look Good and Feel Good with Emma.
My Body Shop at Home Team
I joined the business in November 2018 and in February 2019, I decided I wanted to build myself a team and progress up the career plan. So I introduced my first team member in February and by April, I had a full team and promoted to an Area Manager. At the start of September 2019, that first teamie of mine, got her own promotion to Area Manager! I am now looking to build my team bigger and stronger and hopefully soon progress to Senior Area Manager. So whether you are just looking to earn a bit of extra cash or you want to progress up the career plan and become a manager yourself, I’d be thrilled to be your manager and your mentor. I will help you achieve whatever business goals you have.
Reasons for Becoming a Body Shop at Home Consultant
People join this business for all kinds of reasons. You’ve seen my reasons for becoming a Body Shop at Home Consultant earlier in this post. You might be wanting to join, for any of the following reasons:
To earn some extra money and top up your income
To work around family life and looking after children
For a social life
For a confidence boost
To build yourself a career
To ease some boredom
To be self employed around a health condition, which limits how much you can work.
Because you just bloomin’ LOVE The Body Shops products
Because you are passionate about cruelty free cosmetics
To get cheaper products for your own use
How To Join the Body Shop at Home
Whatever your reason for wanting to join, fill in this little form and I will give you a call/message/email and answer any questions you may have. There will be no pressure to join, just honest answers to your questions, from someone who is already a Body Shop at Home Manager (me!). Should you decide to join my team, I will guide you through that quick and easy process and I will give you full ongoing support and training. If you would prefer to join a different team (not mine), you will find details on how to do that, at the bottom of this post.
By filling in the form, you consent to me storing your details securely and contacting you via your preferred method. These details will be 100% confidential and not shared with anyone else. They will be deleted once I’ve made contact with you.
More about being a Body Shop at Home Consultant
Consultants get 25-30% commission on orders. There’s no minimum order amount. You do NOT have to buy kit top ups or anything other than your kit. You are not pressured with targets (well not on my team anyway!) You get many opportunities to earn free shopping You get opportunities to earn free products and cash bonuses
MYTHS about becoming a Body Shop at Home Consultant
You have to do X amount of sales to get commission… No… No you do not! You get commission on ALL your sales.
You HAVE to do parties… Nope. Wrong again. You can do parties if you want to – theyre a brilliant way of getting sales. But you don’t have to. Likewise, you can sell via a closed Facebook group… but you don’t have to. You choose your own method of sales (as long as it doesn’t violate the consultant agreement!).
You have to buy things yourself to top up your kit. No, you do not. The kit is designed to include everything you need to be able to do a party or a borrow basket, or a stall. There’s no requirement for you to buy anything else yourself. The idea is to sell to customers, make money and earn the products you want with your free shopping. There is NO NEED to use your commission to buy stuff.
What my team think
I LOVE my team. There are now 15 of us (one of whom, is now also a manager). They are such a supportive bunch of ladies, who constantly help each other, even though many of them have never even met! I love that we have such an easy going team too. Nobody puts pressure on anyone and we all celebrate each others different reasons for being in this business.
I can only talk about MY TEAM as I can’t speak for all teams. I can’t guarantee that all teams will be equally as friendly and welcoming as my team. The same as I can’t vouch for the level of support, you’ll receive from other teams. But here’s a few testimonials from people on my Body Shop Team:
Here are three testimonials from ladies on my team, about what our team is like!
“My first body shop at home team lead by my friend Emma. Despite me starting saying I’d never recruit other people or make my own team, Emma lead me to believe I was capable of doing so and here I am 7 months down the line about to be a manager myself. Emma gives fab incentives to better yourself in the business, without the pressure that other teams seem to have. It’s the most supportive team full of women with their own goals and aspirations and where everyone is appreciated!”
“I was very wary about joining the body shop at home. I didn’t want to put money into something I couldn’t make successful and didn’t believe I could do it. Its been 3 months down the line and I am loving it. Team MacSonic has to be one of the most supportive bunch of ladies I’ve ever met! I bombarded them with questions at the start but nobody ever complained – just helped. There’s no pressure that you have to sell so much, that I see on a lot of other teams. We are individuals doing our own thing but support one another in our own goals. I am so pleased I started out with Emma and her team… should have joined so much sooner!”
“Team MacSonic is extremely supportive! Not just with body shop but with everything life throws at us.”
If you want to have a peek at my customer group, to see how I run things, it’s called Look Good and Feel Good with Emma. Please do not join if you are already a registered consultant.
And if any of my blog readers fancy joining up as one of my recruits and becoming a Body Shop at Home Consultant yourself… Just drop me a message or an email or fill in the form above. I’d love to have you on my team and will offer you full training and ongoing support. If you’re not sure, but it’s something you’d like to maybe chat about and consider… again drop me a message and I’ll be happy to chat through all your questions.
If you’d like to join, but would prefer to join a different team, head over to The Body Shop At Home Website or call 08000 929090.
10 Months in…
So ten months in… I’ve ran numerous stalls, where I certainly had to leap out of my comfort zone, and I feel I learnt more from each one. I’ve done numerous parties, fundraisers, borrow baskets and catalogue drops. I’ve been on the consultant retreat, recruited a whole team and promoted a manager. I’ve experimented with new makeup techniques and found a skincare regime that I’m happy with (for someone with ultra sensitive skin and eyes – that’s quite something!). I’ve done LIVE videos on my Facebook page, both with and without makeup. I even posted a 9 minute video, chatting about the products, to Facebook and YouTube, with NO EDITING! I’ve talked to strangers about The Body Shop at Home and The Body Shop products. I feel like my confidence has improved immensely already and I hope that by continuing to grow this second business, my confidence will continue to bloom too.
I have created a family goodwill advent calendar, which I’d love for people to share and join in with, but first, let me tell you why…
I love Christmas. One of my most popular Christmas blog posts is my advent calendar of family activities, which features 24 things to do in December with the kids. I think Christmas is a fabulous time to spend time with the people we love and to get out and about as much as we can with our kids. After all, time is the greatest gift you can give someone. One thing I have noticed recently though, is that much of Christmas nowadays, seems to have become about products, spending power, wishlists and telling our children that Santa only comes to well behaved children. This used to be known as the “season of goodwill”, but you don’t hear that phrase so much anymore. I want to teach my children about goodwill. About random acts of kindness, helping your local community and helping people less fortunate than yourselves. Because we might not feel like we have much to give right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t give. We can give cheer, hope, smiles and goodwill. We can make gestures, some which cost a small amount and some which cost nothing.
So here we are, creating a family goodwill advent calendar. 24 random acts of kindness.
The idea of the goodwill advent calendar, is that you and your family, together, perform one act of goodwill, every day of advent.
We are going to do this goodwill advent calendar ourselves and hope to either blog or video all of these. Most likely just a short clip each day, a minute or less, uploaded to our YouTube channel. I will come back to this post and add links to any posts or videos we do. We would hugely appreciate any likes or shares on social media, so we can share the Christmas cheer and encourage more people to offer kindness to others this Christmas. If anyone wants to join in with our goodwill advent calendar, please let us know what you get up to in the comments of this post.
(Any videos or posts not uploaded on the advent day, will hopefully be added the day after!)
24 acts of Goodwill for our Goodwill Advent Calendar
Give somebody a secret gift. Buy them something and find a way to give it to them, without them knowing who it was!
Buy your Christmas cards from a charity shop, preferably a charity close to your heart.
Send a Christmas card to someone who is lonely. We recently had a campaign envelope come through the post. It said, “If you only send one card this Christmas…” and encourages you to write in the card and send it back. The charity then send the card on to someone who is lonely, vulnerable or homeless.
Take magazines which you have already read, to your local doctors surgery or hospital waiting room. Rather than just putting them straight in the recycling bin, someone who has a long wait will have the opportunity to read something current, rather than from three years ago.
Donate to your local PTA. Most schools have Christmas fairs and whether you donate a really nice raffle prize or a cheap bottle of lemonade for the tombola, they’ll surely appreciate it.
Find a local book swap. Some banks, coffee shops and librarys have them. Often you can buy a book for a small donation or swap a book. Instead of taking one home, leave one there. Realistically, how many times are you likely to read the same book over and over anyway?
Donate the things you no longer want, use or need, to a charity shop. Good quality items though, so that other people will want to buy them and raise money for the charity.
Leave a Christmas card for the postman, bin man and milk man. If you can afford it, include a tip or small gift. If you can’t afford to, perhaps make the card yourself, to show some thought has gone into it?
Send a friend or loved one a random message, out of the blue, complimenting them or telling them why you admire them or what you love about them.
Buy a suspended coffee. There are many coffee shops (usually independents) which allow you to buy a coffee for someone in need.
Get your children to write short notes for the teachers at their school. Something along the lines of, “I think you are a great teacher because…” and ask the receptionist to put them in the teachers pigeonholes. If your children are in secondary school and don’t want people to know, they could write them anonymously and post them.
Contact your nearest animal shelter and ask what they need. They always welcome donations of pet food, but many also ask for donations of old blankets or towels. That old tatty towel or blanket in the back of your airing cupboard might make a deserted old dog warm on a cold Christmas night.
Visit a nursing home. Call ahead first. Nursing homes often love visits from people. You could be dropping off a plant to brighten the lounge or some cookies for the staff, or giving up half an hour of your time to chat to an elderly lonely person.
Give somebody something homemade. Perhaps a Christmas tree decoration?
Take a Christmas card (and gift if you can afford it) in to the teachers and reception staff at your children’s school.
Leave a few coins and a note in the coin slots of a washing machine at your nearest launderette. Add a nice note if you like.
Give somebody something they really need. Whether that is a hug, a chat or something practical.
Sign up for a charity event to do in the new year. Keep the goodwill going.
Tape a coin to a vending machine, with a post it note, for the next person who comes along. Whether it’s 10 pence or a pound, it’ll put a smile on someone’s face.
Bake some cakes or cookies and take them round to one of your neighbours.
Leave an anonymous gift on the doorstep of someone you think will really appreciate it. Perhaps a box of chocolates for a single parent family who are living on a very low income. Perhaps someone who is working very hard lately or even someone who you’ve just not seen a smile from in a while.
Donate to a food bank. Food banks are hugely in demand at Christmas. Nobody chooses to use a foodbank, but it’s a lifeline for people in need. Food banks have lists of their most needed items and whether you buy the value brand or the luxury brand, these items will be hugely appreciated!
Get your children to record short video clips, for a family member that you wont see on Christmas day, and send it to them.
Take food, hot drinks and a Christmas card to the homeless, in the evening, after all the shops have shut. It’s a cold and miserable time to be sleeping on the streets.
I hope you’ve taken some inspiration from our goodwill advent calendar and I would love for as many people as possible to join in with these gestures. Please also share this post on social media, so we can spread the goodwill as far as possible. Let’s put the goodwill back into the season of goodwill!
Let me try and tell you what it’s like. The fear I mean. The fear of Cancer returning, when you’ve already beaten it twice. When it feels like the more battles you win, the more the odds stack against you.
Most of the time, I’m optimistic. I make the most of every day that I feel healthy. I know there are survivors of Leukaemia and Survivors of Thyroid cancer who have much worse long term side effects than me. People who struggle with energy levels and their immune system. I struggled with my immune system for many many years. In the last six years, a few lifestyle changes have revolutionised my life. Cutting down on sugar, caffeine, alcohol and not working 30-40 hour weeks has done wonders for my health.
I try to project strength, optimism and positivity about every aspect of life. I’m never one to wish time away, longing for the next thing. I live for the moment I appreciate every day. And my family are my everything.
But there’s a darker side to being a cancer survivor. One which I can’t always repress. Beyond the survivors guilt. Survivors guilt is a whole other story. Beyond that, there’s the fear of cancer returning.
The thing is, I seem to have quite a strong sixth sense. When I know something isn’t right, I do some research and it usually leads me down the right path.
When I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer, I self diagnosed before I went to the doctor. I was right.
When I had HELLP syndrome, my own research picked up my diagnosis 4 weeks before my consultant.
Whenever I get a kidney infection (I’ve had a lot of these), I’ve gone to the doctor and told them what’s wrong, before I’ve even peed on the stick. And I’ve been right every time.
I knew when my pregnancy was ectopic, before the pain even kicked in. Before I even saw the doctor.
I know when I have a fever, without needing a thermometer.
I know when I’m going to be sick or have a migraine, a good few hours before it happens.
I know when I ovulate, because I can feel it.
I am very in tune with my body and my immense medical history has made me very good at accurately researching symptoms, without overreacting or becoming a hypochondriac.
I am very rarely wrong.
But sometimes I am.
I never saw the pre cancerous cells coming, on my first ever smear test.
I worry I will miss something else.
A few months ago, I started getting horrendous pain the day I ovulate. Can’t stand up, can’t sit down kind of pain. My periods went from their usual 4 day affair to a 1-2 day thing. The heavy feel-like-I’m-dying flow, reduced to a few hours and then virtually nothing. I get immensely tearful the day before my period. When I say tearful, it feels similar to clinical depression, although thankfully it only lasts a day or two. I get nausea and vomitting with my period now. The pelvic pain feels like the start of labour. It feels like my pelvis is going to fall out! I’m not sleeping properly either. My sleep is disturbed and I wake up a lot. Sometimes I wake up sweating. I can’t remember the last time I slept right through the night.
I am tired ALL-THE-TIME.
So tired that I got my oncologist to check my Thyroxine levels, which all came back fine. I was told this is definitely NOT the cause of my fatigue.
And I know, that these symptoms are all ovary related. I am aware that there are many conditions associated with ovaries which are not cancer. I also know I have a high chance of early menopause due to my chemo. BUT, this nagging feeling in the back of my mind keeps telling me it could be cancer again. And I know from attending a function with a top researcher into cervical and ovarian cancers than ovarian is one of the most frightening cancers to have.
And I’ve left it six months to make the appointment out of fear. Fear of cancer returning.
I have a predisposition to cancer due to both my former cancer treatments listing “secondary tumours” as a long term side effect.
Yes… I know it’s stupid. I know I shouldn’t have left it. I shouldn’t have waited. But I was overcome by fear.
I finally found the courage to book the doctor’s appointment. After waiting two long stressful weeks, I went to the appointment. It wasn’t my usual surgery or my GP. I drove around the car park for over half an hour trying to find a space. Eventually, I had to leave, find a side street to park in and walk to the doctor’s. I arrived ten minutes late and the receptionist refused to let me see the doctor.
I went back to my car and unleashed it all. Months of pent up worry and frustration. Months of slowly building fear. I sobbed loudly and hysterically in my car. I called my husband and then the doctor’s for a new appointment and the hysteria didn’t subside for a good half an hour.
I have had Cancer twice and I KNOW deep down in my gut, I KNOW I am going to have it again at some point in my life’s and I am SO SO scared that that time has come already.
Any member of my family getting cancer (or any terminal illness) is my biggest fear in life now.
The other thing playing on my mind, is early menopause. I’m only 32 and I don’t want my fertility taken away so soon. I battle with self-esteem issues already, without having to go through the menopause a decade or two early.
Sadly, early menopause is almost a certainty for me. But this early?
Obviously, I’d rather take the menopause over Cancer, but I’d rather be wrong about it all and be told I’m normal and healthy.
I am praying that I’m wrong. I want to be wrong. I really really cannot bear to think I could be right on this.
I went to my renewed appointment, at my own doctors surgery this time, with my own doctor. She didn’t fob me off with excuses or tell me I was overreacting. She said that she could understand my concerns and based on my medical history, she’d look into it. I’ve been booked in for blood tests to check for menopause and an ultrasound to check for cancers.
The doctor said she felt that it was highly likely that I am perimenopausal.
So that’s where I am. Only the tests will tell.
Worrying times. And right before Christmas again.
My scan is only hours away as I publish this post and it’s just sunk in.
I was recently invited to London for a Halloween themed launch event with tech brand Lenovo. Lenovo have just launched their brand new gadget, the Lenovo Smart Display with the Google Assistant. The concept of this event was to teach us all about how the Lenovo Smart Display works and how it can be used in the kitchen by both parents and children.
If you have a smart phone or a smart speaker at home, you’re probably familiar with virtual assistants. If you have an Android phone, then you probably have Google Assistant on your phone. Lenovo have decided to take Google Assistant to the next level of innovation and are the first tech producers to give Google Assistant a screen of its own. So fundamentally, it’s like a cross between a tablet and a virtual assistant. Clever right?
So how would you use the Lenovo Smart Display at home?
At the Lenovo Smart Display launch event, we had the lovely Kimberley Wyatt, former Pussycat Doll and Celebrity Masterchef winner, demonstrate for us. Alongside lots of Halloween themed activities, including face painting and icing biscuits of course! Kimberley said that she wanders down to the kitchen in the morning and says “Okay Google. Good Morning!”.
Everything always starts with “Okay Google” or “Hey Google” and once you say “Good Morning”, the Lenovo Smart Display then does the following:
Says “Good Morning Kimberley” (obviously it says the name of whoever is talking to it).
Tells you the current time.
Shows you the weather for the day, to help you plan what to wear.
Announces what’s in your calendar for the day ahead (synced to your own Google Calendar).
Reads you the news, complete with video footage.
You can edit the morning routine if you want to add something in or cut one of those features out. Features of the Lenovo Smart Display are also being regularly added and updated. It will also correct you, if you say “Good Morning”, when it is in fact, afternoon!
So what else can the Lenovo Smart Display with the Google Assistant do?
Supposing you have your Lenovo Smart Display with Google Assistant sitting on your kitchen windowsill… I use this example, because this is where I’d put it in my home. Here are some of the things you can do with it…
If you want to do some baking, you can ask the Lenovo Smart Display to find you a recipe. You can tell the assistant which recipe you’d like to choose, and it can read you (and show you) the recipe one step at a time, as and when you are ready. So unlike watching a YouTube video and having to keep pausing it, the Google Assistant waits for you, before telling you the next step. This provides a completely hands-free experience. So, if you have your hands covered in flour, you don’t have to worry about needing to press buttons or scroll the screen.
You might be like my husband, and enjoy watching car videos on YouTube whilst you do the washing up? Personally, I have no interest in car videos, so it’s a win-win – he gets to watch car videos and I get out of doing the washing up! Anyway, the point is, he can ask the Lenovo Smart Display to bring up YouTube and find the videos he wants to watch. He can ask the assistant to play, stop, rewind, fast forward, adjust the volume or move to another video, without even needing to dry his hands.
If you have a family like ours, you probably have children who wander in and out of the kitchen, whilst you are trying to prepare dinner. Irritating sometimes isn’t it? When you are cooking, is the one time you really need the children to entertain themselves for a bit. However, as they wander into the kitchen, demanding to sing along to a particular song, they can ask for it. You can programme the Lenovo Smart Display with the Google Assistant to listen for different family members voices. The children can then just ask for whichever song they want to play. Or if they are stuck with their homework or squabbling over a mundane question, they can ask Google.
You can also make calls and video calls through the Lenovo Smart Display and pull up Google Maps and get directions. You can also view your Google photos through this device and when it’s not in use, it can display random images from your gallery (if you want it to).
As pathetic as it sounds, even the most basic of functions, like having the time and date constantly on display, can be handy. I have literally never gotten around to buying a clock. I don’t have a clock anywhere in my house. And where do you need one, more than the kitchen? Put the flapjack in the oven and ask the Google Assistant to set a timer for you. Then you won’t forget about it and end up baking something which resembles tarmac (I have genuinely done this).
Connecting your smart home devices to the Lenovo Smart Display
We also have Phillips Hue lighting in our home, which can also be connected up to the Lenovo Smart Display. We can ask the Google Assistant to turn the lights on or off, dim them or change the colour of the light in any room where we have the bulbs. In fact, there are numerous WIFI products which you can control via the Lenovo. You might have an impressive WIFI sound system, control your heating through WIFI or even your coffee machine? There are over 5000 smart home products which can be used with the Lenovo Smart Display.
Physical features of the Lenovo Smart Display with the Google Assistant
The Lenovo Smart Display with the Google Assistant comes in a choice of two sizes. My personal preference, if using it in a kitchen, would be the 10 inch display, purely because bigger is better when you are wandering around the kitchen getting on with things. It also comes in an 8 inch option, for those who prefer a smaller display. And after all, there’s no limits on where you need to position this in your house – you could have one in every room if you wanted.
With a high definition screen and speakers, the vision and sound quality on this device is brilliant. Better than all the smart speakers I’ve personally tried myself.
For the safety conscious, who don’t like the idea of having the camera or microphone constantly on, there are solid buttons which you can press to turn off the microphone or camera. A TrueBlock Privacy shutter covers the microphone up and the microphone mute button is a hard key, so you can visibly see that it’s switched off.
You can also choose whether you want to have your Lenovo Smart Display in a landscape rotation with the speaker to the left, or portrait, with the speaker beneath. This is not like your usual tablet, I wouldn’t really call it portable. You can’t pop it in your handbag due to the shape of it. I’d definitely look at this as more of a smart home device or a kitchen appliance.
What I thought of the Lenovo Smart Display
It was great fun seeing the Lenovo Smart Display in action, using it for icing cookies and copying face paint designs. I was thoroughly impressed with the whole hands-free living ethos behind the design. I am looking forward to getting my hands on one to test it out in our own home. I think this is a great device which will quickly take over from smart speakers as having a screen adds so much functionality. And as Lenovo say with their Smart Display slogan, “Seeing is Better”.
At the time of publishing this post, the starting prices on these devices seem to be around the £229 mark for the 10 inch and £179 for the 8 inch.
HOWEVER, for a short time, there is a special offer on, starting today…
Make sure you take advantage of the Lenovo Smart Display Black Friday deals running on Lenovo.com from Friday 16th November until Monday 3rd December, as well at major retailers. During this time, the 8 inch device will sell at £129.99 (RRP £179.99) and the 10 inch will sell at £199.99 (RRP £229.99)
If you do buy one, based on my recommendation, do come back and let me know what you thought of it!
Yesterday I went to the Dream Toys 2018 Press Event in London. This annual event is set up by the Toy Retailers Association every year and many of the UK’s press flock to it. A panel of judges go through all the toy entries in the lead up to the festive period and choose the top 100 toys to buy for Christmas and the top 12 toys to buy for Christmas. These make up the Dream Toys 2018 list! This is my second year attending this event and I love it (not just because of the free food and epic goody bag). However I must confess that for the second year running, I managed to demolish breakfast, lunch, several cups of tea and a few snacks all before 10:30am!
As well as telling you what the Toy Retailers Association deem to be the Dream Toys for 2018, I’m also going to tell you my own personal selection of the best toys to buy for Christmas.
Without further ado, here is the Top 12 toys on the Dream Toys 2018 list…
Dream Toys 2018 TOP 12
Paw Patrol Ultimate Fire Truck from Spin Master Toys. This retails at £69.99.
Poopsie Magical Unicorn from MGS Entertainment retailing at £49.99.
Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall made by LEGO with an RRP of £89.99.
Cra-Z Slimy Creations Super Slime Studio by Character Options selling at £29.99.
Boxer by Spin Master Toys for £79.99
L.O.L Surprise Under Wraps from MGA Entertainment retails at £14.99.
Fingerlings Untamed Jailbreak T-Rex Playset from Jazwares /Wowwee at £24.99.
Barbie Ultimate Kitchen by Mattel with a selling price of £49.99.
Monopoly Fortnite Edition from Hasbro RRP £21.99.
Harry Potter Wizard Training Wand by Jakks Pacific retailing at £24.99.
L.O.L Surprise Pop-up Store from MGA Entertainment which has an RRP £39.99.
Laser X Twin Pack by Character Options for £49.99.
These Dream Toys will all make brilliant toys to buy for Christmas, but my personal favourites from the 100 toys selected at Dream Toys 2018 are slightly different. My choices stem from the kinds of toys that my own children love and would play with again and again. As a parent, I think there’s nothing worse than spending an absolute fortune on a toy that your child will only play with once and then get bored. My children are aged 2, 6 (twins) and 11 years old. My youngest is a boy and the rest are girls. With that in mind, if you have children of similar ages, you might find some of the ideas on my own list of Dream Toys 2018 that your own children will love.
My personal top picks from Dream Toys 2018.
Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall made by LEGO (£89.99) I am in complete agreement with the Toy Retailers Association on the Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall. All four of my children (and my husband) LOVE LEGO. LEGO is a timeless classic which will never ever get old. My oldest daughter and I are also big Harry Potter fans and I’m in the process of designing a Harry Potter themed bedroom for her. I even have a Harry Potter bedroom ideas Pinterest board. My twins and I visited the LEGO shop in Leicester Square recently and were admiring all of the Harry Potter Lego collections whilst we were there. The Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall is a brilliant and very detailed toy from LEGO and if it hadn’t been on my daughter’s Christmas list, I’m pretty sure it would have been on mine! This toy outright wins Dream Toys 2018 for me.
Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Express (£74.99) Yep… LEGO makes my list twice as they have also made a Harry Potter Hogwarts Express. This is a great option if Hogwarts Great Hall is just a little bit beyond your budget.
They also had Harry Potter LEGO Minifigures too, which would make great stocking fillers!
Monopoly Cheaters Edition (£21.99) Move on over Fortnite, the Monopoly Cheaters game is the one for me. I have ALWAYS loved a good game of monopoly and we actually played a game only last week (I won of course!). In this version of the game, you are not only allowed to cheat, but you are supposed to cheat! You get given “cheat” tasks to carry out throughout the game, but you MUST NOT GET CAUGHT. I think this is a fascinating twist on the classic monopoly game. I remember sleeping with my monopoly money and properties under my pillow as a kid, to make sure my best friend couldn’t cheat! This is definitely at the top of my own personal Dream Toys 2018 list and definitely one of the best toys to buy for Christmas.
FurReal Ricky the Trick Lovin’ Pup by Hasbro (£134.99) Similar to Tyler the Tiger from the 2017 Dream Toys list, this big cuddly toy has a huge range of over 100 motions and sounds. He’s also super cute, can eat, poop and do tricks! To be honest, you have to see this toy in action to appreciate how awesome it is!
Harry Potter Real Talking Sorting Hat (£39.99) It looks and sounds EXACTLY like the real sorting hat from Harry Potter. What more do I need to say? This may have to go in my daughter’s Harry Potter themed bedroom.
TY UK Flippables (£9.99) Three of my children, have all indulged in the flippable sequins craze. They all have sequinned tops which show one picture until you flip the sequins over to reveal a different colour or picture. They love them. It’s madness. And as a mum, I have to remember not to tumble dry them! Well TY (of former Beanie Baby and Beanie Buddy legends) have now come up with cuddly toys with flippable sequins and I think there are really sweet. This is one toy I will be buying for Christmas this year.
Scruff-a-Luvs (19.99) These little creatures may have you mystified when they show up as a ball of fluff and you can’t quite work out what animal they are. You must wash them, dry them and groom them, to discover what type of pet you have! Ingenious huh? My twins are getting these for Christmas.
GraviTrax Starter Set by Ravensburger (£49.99) This science toy has to be seen to be appreciated. You design your track using the app, choosing where you want to start and finish your design and how many height layers you want. Then you build your track for real, using tiles, levels, tracks, and other features, such as catapults. The idea is to get ball bearings from the start to the finish, using gravity, magnetism and kinetics. I absolutely cannot understand why this wasn’t chosen as one of the best toys to buy for Christmas this year. I think it’s a little complex for my children, but brilliant for older kids, home education and anyone with a love of science and construction toys.
LeapFrog LeapStart 3D (£49.99) The LeapFrog LeapStart 3D helps children learn to read. You attach the specifically designed story books and use a pen to help read. It also shows a holographic image. For example, when reading Peppa Pig, you will see a projected holographic image of Peppa jumping in muddy puddles. The combination of sight, sound and interaction helps children learn to read from ages 2-7 years.
Pomsies by Bandai (£17.99) I got to play with Pomsies at Dream Toys 2018 when the Bandai rep put one on my wrist. You’ve heard of wearable tech… well this is a wearable toy. It makes over 50 different sounds and reacts to affection (or lack of). They will communicate whether they are hungry, sleepy or happy and their eyes change colour too.
There seemed to be an abundance of slime themed and poop themed toys at Dream Toys 2018, as well as some really great board games for all the family. And whether your children are into Barbie or Hot Wheels, there seemed to be something for everyone in the top 100 toys to buy for Christmas. You can find the full 100 toys here.
The twins and I recently travelled up to London for a press event at ICETANK with Foreo Mikro Dentist. Foreo are a Swedish oral care and dental care brand which originated in 2013 with just two employees and now has over 2000 employees. Foreo create a number of products, such as the Foreo Issa electric toothbrush, Foreo Issa Mini kids electric toothbrush and Foreo Issa Mikro infant electric toothbrush. I was interested in taking my 6 year old twins to this event to learn more about family dental care and the Foreo Issa toothbrush range.
Toothbrushing, in my home, is somewhat of a mixed matter.
If you read my recent post about my dentist phobia and my horrific tooth extraction ordeal, you’ll know my fear of dentists is no laughing matter. I DO brush my teeth twice a day and floss once a day, but I must admit, this wasn’t the case when I was a young adult in my late teens and early twenties. Add to this, the damage to my teeth from various cancer treatments and my reluctance to see a dentist and you can probably picture how bad my teeth are. I don’t want this for my children. I don’t want them to inherit my fear of the dentist. I don’t want them to get into bad habits with dental care either. So, taking two of them to an event with Foreo Mikro Dentist seemed like a great way to get them excited about taking care of their teeth.
In general, the twins don’t mind brushing their teeth, but it’s not exactly something that excites them. I tend to brush their teeth for them for one minute first, and then let them brush them for the second minute. I do this because I’m not convinced they’d do a very thorough job if left entirely to their own devices.
Two year old Bear, absolutely loves brushing his teeth. He demands to brush them every time he goes anywhere near the bathroom. I think this is great. Get him into good oral hygiene habits young! It’s a shame my other three don’t share his enthusiasm.
My 11 year old daughter Bunny, is another story. Toothbrushing is a fight with her. She tries to get out of it as much as she can and rarely brushes for the full two minutes. Sometimes I wonder if she’s even managed one minute.
It’s not surprising when you look at the statistics. According to research carried out by Foreo Mikro Dentist 55% of 3-5 year olds have one filling. That figure is even more astounding when you consider that most children in the UK don’t visit the dentist until they are 4 years old.
The twins were hugely excited about their day trip to London and getting to go on the London underground. When we reached the pop-up Foreo Mikro Dentist, the twins were given lab coats to wear, so they’d look and feel like dentists!
Inside the Foreo Mikro Dentist, there were a multitude of activities to take part in. The twins played with some giant teeth, some wind up teeth and had a look at the Foreo toothbrush range on display. Don’t worry, I did explain to Fluffy that the Foreo Issa is for cleaning her teeth, not her ears!
They both jumped into the ball pit to find a ball with a magic star, to win themselves a cuddly teddy bear sporting a Foreo Mikro Dentist t-shirt. They tried to win another by playing on a grabber machine, but sadly it wasn’t to be. Some other children kept jumping the queue in front of us to have multiple turns too, which spoilt the fun a little. So Tiny and Fluffy cracked on with some drawing and some playdoh for a bit.
There was also the opportunity to enjoy some healthy snacks and chat to leading cosmetic dentist Dr Mark Hughes.
The pinnacle of the day for the twins though, was getting their faces painted and meeting THE TOOTH FAIRY. I’m sorry Dr Mark Hughes, but in the eyes of a 6 year old, you’ve got nothing on the tooth fairy!
The very kind people at the Foreo Mikro Dentist let us take home two extra teddy bears, one for Bunny and one for Bear. Bear has slept with his, every night since. They also gifted the twins a Foreo Issa Mini 2 which is a kids electric toothbrush.
But, “what’s so special about this toothbrush?”, I hear you cry.
Well it’s a very innovative, high tech toothbrush.
I’m going to speak specifically about the Issa Mini 2 Sensitive, as the other Foreo Issa toothbrushes are slightly different.
The Foreo Issa Mini 2 Sensitive, has bristles made from non-pourus, quick-drying, medical-grade silicone. The purpose of this, is that it’s super soft on the gums and doesn’t scratch the tooth enamel or sensitive gum tissue. It also gives the gums a gentle massage at the same time, cleaning gums, as well as teeth.
It’s also ultra hygienic. This kids electric toothbrush repels bacteria and carries 10,000 times LESS bacteria than an ordinary nylon bristle toothbrush.
This brush head also lasts for a whole year and the toothbrush itself has a ten year quality guarantee and a 2 year limited warrantee. Just think how many manual toothbrushes you’d have sent to landfill in that time!
As with all the Foreo Issa toothbrushes, the Foreo Issa Mini 2 Sensitive toothbrush doesn’t have a rotating head. Instead it uses sonic pulses to aid teeth cleaning and actually pulses at a rate of 9000 high-intensity pulsations per minute.
It takes just one hour to charge the Foreo Issa Mini 2 Sensitive from the USB charger that comes in the box. The toothbrush will then hold its charge for around 265 days.
The design also means it’s easy for small hands to hold, has a 3D flexible brush head to reach every tooth and is fully waterproof. So no big deal if the kids drop it in the bath.
BUT THE BEST PART (according to my 6 year old twins)…
The Glee and Glum faces. This is what has transformed toothbrushing for my children from the mundane to the exciting. The Foreo Issa Mini 2 and Mini 2 Sensitive have a built in timer, which times for two minutes. After two minutes of brushing, the end of the toothbrush lights up, the handle vibrates and a smiley face lights up with GLEE! And I kid you not – if you don’t brush for a full two minutes, you get the glee face for effort, but you also get a sad GLUM face light up for not completing the task! And finally, if you do not brush your teeth every twelve hours, the Issa Mini 2 flashes it’s glum face.
The twins find brushing their teeth so much more exciting with the Foreo Issa Mini 2 and I wish I had the Foreo Issa Mikro for Baby Bear and the Foreo Issa 2 (adult version) for Bunny.
The Foreo Issa Mini 2 Sensitive kids electric toothbrush retails at £99.00 (as is the regular Issa Mini). It comes in a choice of two colours – Wild Strawberry (pink) and Summer Sky (blue). The Foreo Issa Mikro (electric toothbrush for babies and toddlers) retails at £79.00
There are a whole range of Foreo Issa toothbrushes available, including a mix of regular and sensitive brush heads and toothbrushes for all ages. Different models have different colour options. You can find out more on the Foreo website.
Disclaimer: I was compensated for my travel expenses in order to attend this event and two of my children were gifted with toothbrushes. All words and opinions are entirely honest and entirely my own.
As the excitement of planning our extension mounts, we know that all too soon, it’ll be time to decide how we want it decorated. Our extension consists of another bedroom and another bathroom, and planning has been in the works for over a year now. Planning permission has been granted. Our architect is making a few minor edits and we are hoping that building work should commence next year (fingers crossed).
Once the building starts going up, there will be quite a few changes in our home. The girls will be swapping bedrooms, we will have the new build and EVERYONE wants their new room decorated.
One of my favourite tools for planning home decor, is Pinterest. I only recently started using Pinterest but I already have boards which are helping me plan the designs of the children’s bedrooms. I love that I can pin all the ideas I like to one place and pick little things I like from each design. Soon I will be starting a Pinterest board for our new bedroom too. If you want to follow along, you can find my Pinterest boards here.
With our extension, we’ve mostly only really started planning the big things. Like carpet Vs wooden flooring. Curtains Vs blinds. And for the bathroom, Tiles Vs paint. Colour schemes, soft furnishings, furniture and other decorative items haven’t even entered our minds yet.
We currently have dark wood laminate flooring in our living room and love how easy it is to keep clean, as opposed to carpet. Having little children means that spills are common and with laminate flooring you can simply wipe it up. With carpet, we have to get the rug doctor out and it takes a good day or so to dry out. It’s pointless to say our bedroom will be a child-free zone, because the little one in particular, loves to climb into bed with us some mornings. And the oldest sometimes enjoys reading with one of us in our room, after the little ones have gone to bed.
Our current thoughts are to go for laminate flooring in the extension too, but probably a lighter coloured wood. We will also want to be adding some fluffy rugs for warmth.
My personal choice for the windows would be curtains, but my husband prefers blinds. Curtains allow you to add a burst of colour and a good lined insulated pair will make the bedroom feel and look warmer. On the other hand, blinds can look tidier, particularly if we decide to go for a minimalistic design.
We both prefer tiles over paint for bathrooms, but I think we are a long way off of selecting tiles as we are also changing the tiling in our existing bathroom. It took us a lot of searching before we chose which ones we wanted for that bathroom. I imagine it will take us even longer to choose a second set for our en suite.
I am finding this whole design thing rather exciting though. I spent so many years living in private rented accommodation where I wasn’t allowed to change a single thing. It’s great having a home that we can completely redesign ourselves.
Who else watched Stand Up To Cancer on TV last night?
People ask me why I watch Stand Up To Cancer? Knowing I have had had two cancers so far and I have a predisposition, which means I am likely to develop more cancers at some point in my life?
Twitter was eerily quiet from the people whose tweets I usually read. I know that most people have their one or two charities that they support, but I can never help but wonder why more people don’t support Cancer Research?
Cancer incidence rates in the UK are now 1 in 2.
1 in 2 of us will get Cancer at some point in our lives.
That means that ALL OF US will be affected by Cancer, whether that’s suffering ourselves or supporting a loved one through it.
Look around your family. How many people are in your family? Divide that by 2. How many of the people you love are going to develop Cancer at some point in their life?
Turning a blind eye to Stand Up To Cancer, changing the channel, it’s not going to change that. Donating, could. Watching and learning can prepare you and help you spot the symptoms earlier.
People in the UK are living longer than they used to. This means that more people are living into the age where Cancer is most common. According to Cancer Research UK, 60% of cancers occur in people over the age of 65. Both of my parents are over 65. One of my parents has already battled Cancer. My Gran battled Cancer twice, won the first time and lost the second time. My Grandad is living with two Cancers. I wonder WHEN WILL IT END?
The frightening part for me, is that 40% of Cancers occur in UNDER 65’s. And the average survival rate is 50%. You do the math.
And if you’re one of those people sitting at home with a lump or putting off your smear test, because you are: a) frightened or b) think it wont happen to you All I can say is, set a reminder for first thing on Monday morning. Call the doctors. GO. Because the longer you put it off, the more the odds will stack against you.
Back when the statistics were 1 in 3, I used to joke that my little family of six were saved, because I’d taken 2 for the team. I know in reality that it doesn’t work like that. 1 in 2 hurts. 1 in 2 is just too real and just too terrifying to comprehend. I can’t bear the thought of any member of my family having to go through that. I can’t bear the thought of having to go through it again myself either. My family need me and I need them.
So when you ask me WHY I sat up til 1am watching Stand Up TO Cancer raise £24,638,037 and feeling utterly depressed, you’ll understand.
It’s to educate myself on the signs and symptoms of different Cancers
It’s to give me fresh ideas on how I can raise awareness and fundraise to do my part to help.
It’s to honour and respect those who have lost their lives to Cancer.
It’s to embrace that fear that makes us want to grab life by the balls and live it to the fullest. To cherish those we love, for every precious second we get to spend with them.
It’s to feel that survivor guilt which demands to be felt every now and then, to remind me that I am still here. To make sure I never take my health for granted and that I am forever grateful that I am still here.
And yes… of course I donated. Even though I feel I’ll never be able to donate or fundraise enough money to repay Cancer Research for my life.
THAT’s why I watch Stand Up To Cancer!
And guess what… if you didn’t watch it last night, it’s not too late. You can watch it on catch-up TV. The Stand Up To Cancer website is still open for donations. You can buy merchandise that shows your support. You can tweet about it, blog about it, post on Facebook and make some noise. You can go to the doctor and you can educate and look out for your family’s health.